Last week, I announced to my family and friends that I was “on vacation”.
“But what does that mean?” they all asked. I explained that people who had regular nine-to-five jobs took vacations all the time, so I was going to spend a week away from anything having to do with writing. I had just sent a draft of my latest work in progress to my agent, and I still had a few weeks before beginning the revision process on my young adult novel. It was the perfect time for a break.
I am a homebody. I don’t do vacations. The last time I got on a plane and went anywhere was five years ago. So this little vacation from writing felt doable. I simply closed the door to my office and hung up a sign: Gone Fishing.
Not wanting to sit idle, I made a list of things to do around the house (fix the toilet that screams like it’s in pain whenever we flush it, paint the front steps, clean the garage so we can actually put our cars in there by the time it starts to snow, etc.). I started making my way down the list, beginning with the easy stuff — threw away the fossilized things from the back of our fridge (was that really hummus once?), organized my daughter’s toys and books — but during a break, I checked my email.
“What are you doing?” my partner asked. “I thought you were on vacation!” I told her email didn’t count as writing. It’s a slippery slope, my friends. Before I knew it, I was obsessively changing the colors on my My Space page, commenting on the posts of my fellow debutantes, re-reading the long-abandoned draft of the beginning of a not-so-good novel, and then, horror of horrors, I found myself working on an outline for a new book. And once I had the outline, I figured why not sketch out the first chapter? See how it goes. I am now 80 pages into it. So much for the vacation.
But all hope was not lost. I did manage to spend some quality time in the hammock, have a few extra glasses of wine, and read some Ruth Rendell.
The toilet is still screaming. Any plumbers out there?
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